February 24, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 2/24/2018~Valentines Clearance and Dollar Tree

Thanks to Valentine's clearance at Dollar General we were able to stock up on stuffed animals!  I think we're pretty well set for the year, now, with what we've gotten the last couple months.  I'm really grateful, because I was a little worried!  Some were 50% off, others 70%, worked out to $0.30-$0.90.

I also picked up some goodies at Dollar Tree for a post I'm writing.  I really liked the stuffed animals, especially the lamb, so even though it wasn't on sale, I got an extra one!  You can order the duck, lamb (& bunnies) in bulk (that's an affiliate link and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on it).

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $30.82 
Saved thru clearance:  $26.20 

February 17, 2018

Couple Week's worth of OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturdays ~ 2/17/2018

The last couple weeks have been busy for life in general, but not so much for shoebox stockpiling, so I've let the blogging of the stockpiling lapse.   I picked up some goodies when Dollar General had their 50% off clearance sale.  I was really excited about the chunky pencils-we used some last year and I had seen them at this store and was waiting for 50% off clearance to pick them up!

A friend also donated some stuffed animals!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $14.44  

February 14, 2018

WalMart Clearance Brickseek for OCC Shoeboxes 2018

I wrote an earlier post of some Walmart clearance deals with Brickseek links, and it was so popular I decided to try an ongoing one that will hopefully be updated all year long as more clearance deals are found, with Brickseek links when possible.  So feel free to pin, bookmark, etc. this page and check it often for hopefully new deals that can help you pack more and better shoeboxes!

For those unfamiliar with Brickseek, it is a service that attempts to track  inventory and prices at stores.  It's not foolproof, but it is a good way to get an idea of stock and prices before one heads to the store.  You should be able to just put in your zip-code in each link and get an idea of what deals you may find at your local store.  Remember to be kind and understanding as it may not have the stock or price you expect.  And utilizing the in-store price scanners (and maybe app) can be helpful, too!

One idea of how to use this is to earn a gift card to Walmart online then give it to a friend or family member who would like to help with your shoebox project lives or works near a WalMart you can't often get to, and when there's a good deal and that store has a good stock of it, ask them to run by and pick it up for you with the gift card.  Then, next time you get together, you can pick up shoebox goodies!  

I have to thank everyone who posts on Facebook deals they find so I have something to make this list from!

Now for the deals (newest on top):


For earlier deals that may still be around, here's the ones from my earlier post:  Walmart Deals for Shoeboxes

Crayola 64-Page Coloring Book 25 to 50 cents

Stanley 8 piece tool set-many for $5, some up to $15

Create & Learn 18-Piece Tool Set with Toolbox 5+  $4 for $20 tool box with supplies (will need to remove knife)

Hyper Tough 11-Piece Drawer Tool Kit with Bonus 100 pcs -$3...very limited quantity available.

UnoBlink - $1

Some people are still finding Cool Gear water bottles 25-50 cents (some have gottten even better prices by asking for a discount buying in bulk).

Winter Emoji
Winter Woodland
Winter Cats with Scarves

Also, children's underwear are reportedly being re-set, so some are on clearance.

Backpack for $1 or $2

Starter Bonus Packs of socks (12 pair) $4

Starter Boys NoShow Socks, 10-pack $4

Disney Pixar Cars 3 Die-Cast Singles Assortment - most full price, a few $1

Cra-Z-Art Bold Washable Markers  10 cents

UNO Lowdown Game $1 (you may also want to check for other ones, some are reporting multiple kinds coming up as $1)

Kid Connection 7-pc 9 Inches Baby Doll Set Aa - 7 dolls plus lots of accessories for $9 (reg about $40)

11 Barbie like dolls for $19

33 piece tool kit for $5  EDIT, now down to $2.50 at some stores!!

Ken Fashionistas Doll 4 Checked Style - a dollar or two, also various other Fashionistas dolls.

Barbie Builder Doll & Playset - $2 or $18...mostly sold out at $2

Marvel Spider-Man Titan Hero Series Spider-Man Figure (Barbie or bigger sized) $2

The above were all reported by various project leaders in the OCC group on Facebook.

If you're interested in Fidgit Spinners, thanks to Shoeboxes on a Shoestring on Facebook for sharing some of these are on clearance. Check out her page for info on all the kinds she found, here's one that seemed widely available, but ranged in price form a quarter to two dollars!
Build a Sport's Car Kid's Project Kit - wooden car kit for $1, normally $2-$5, check out her Facebook page for a couple other designs.

If you need ideas of how to store all your fun goodies, check out my stockpiling tips.

February 13, 2018

Pencil Granny & Friends Fillers for Operation Christmas Child

If you read this blog, you'll probably have read me mentioning that you can send fillers to the Processing Centers for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  Basically, some boxes that come through the inspection line have to have something taken out because the packer misunderstood the instructions and there's a hole in the box.  A great example of this would be a box I saw with and apple and orange in it.  Great for a stocking, not so great for a box that may take a month to get to another country.  When something has to be taken out it is replaced with something else.  Also, sometimes a box comes through that doesn't have to have anything taken out, but is pretty empty.  Maybe the packer was poor and gave all they could, maybe they misunderstood and thought they could only put one item in, or maybe someone got sidetracked trying to hit a certain number of boxes packed rather than packing full boxes.   Samaritan's Purse accepts donations, so in either of these cases, the volunteers will have something to fill the boxes for the children.

The Pencil Granny & Friends is a group of people on Facebook who has seen the need for this filler and has a burden to provide school supplies for children.  They act on this by making pencil packs to send as filler that can be put in boxes needing something else. In many countries, school supplies are required to attend school, and these packs may literally give a child what they need to get an education. 

How I personally decide how many to pack is how many spare pencil cases I have left at the end of my personal shoebox packing.  Some I've bought because I thought they'd be good for this project, some are sewn or crochet, but as you can see, there's a lot of variety-also what goes in depends a little on what fits.  And just like the shoeboxes I pack, often they end up having a theme.  I like to try to add small extras as well.  Depending on what I find.  For instance, I bought combs in a giant lot, so I put one in each bag.  You can see the sports one has a "gold medal" in it, etc.  I even fit a little stuffed animal in one.

Then I took them to the drop off location in a small box clearly labeled Fillers and Gifts-in-Kind, and they had a carton at the drop off to put it into to send to the processing center.  It's important to be sure it's not mistaken for it's own shoebox-haha!

If this interests you, be sure to check out The Pencil Granny & Friends Facebook page!  And if you're interested in the quality of various pencils, check out our Pencil Brand Reviews.

February 12, 2018

Dial Bar Soap Deal for OCC

A deal on Dial Bar soap many of us like to get for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is available again.  There is currently this printable coupon available, you should be able to print two on your computer.  I believe there was also the same coupon in Sunday's paper, so you could get more with that!

The link to this coupon is my referral link, and I'll be compensated if you print coupons through it.

Save $1.00 on TWO (2) Foaming Hand Wash, Liquid Soap Refills, and/or Bar Soap (3-bar or Larger) excludes trial and travel sizes

I've found at my local these three packs at my local Dollar Trees you should be able to use the coupons on (you can see Dollar Tree's coupon policy here):

That works out to less than 20 cents a bar.   Sometimes there is confusion with using printable coupons at some Dollar Trees.  My suggestions are: print the coupons on normal quality, not fast draft (as I often do with coupons) to be sure they'll scan better, be ready to explain the small print of the coupon saying "off any 3 pack", and personally I always carry a printed copy of Dollar Tree's coupon policy. Of course, one should also be prepared to be polite and take no for an answer. 

There is also this coupon (affiliate) for 6 packs or larger that might lead to a good deal at another store-I think I heard Dollar General may have some on clearance. 

Save $1.00 on ONE (1) Body Wash and/or Bar Soap (6-bar or Larger) excludes trial and travel sizes

Saving Star (if you are unfamiliar with Saving Star, you can see here for more info from one of my other blogs)  also has a deal out right now, and you can combine a coupon and Saving Star (affiliate)

Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Dial® or Tone® Body Wash or Bar Soap (6-Bar or Larger).Expires 3/4/2018.Save $1.00.
Save $1.00 on TWO (2) Dial® Dial Complete® 2-In-1 Bar Soap, Foaming Hand Wash, Hand Soap Refills, Bar Soap (3-Bar or Larger).Expires 3/4/2018.Save $1.00.

DisclosureThis post contained affiliate links and I will be compensated if you print a coupon after clicking on my links, this helps me afford the time to write this blog and keep up the Facebook page.  But, I only share affiliate links for items I think would be good for shoeboxes, and fellow shoebox packers.  Most the time it will be things I've personally reviewed or packed.

Barnyard Themed Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for a Boy Ages 2-4 Years Old

Sometimes when we  win or earn gift cards online for shopping for shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, we use it to "splurge" on an item that might cost more than we normally budget for that type of item.  Such was the case with the cow blocks/puzzle I built this farm themed box around.

It was a great Wow item-16 about inch square blocks, brightly decorated so as to make up 9 different far scene puzzles (pig, cow, rooster, etc) by Melissa & Doug.  However it was a bit big, so there was concerns as to how it would fit, especially as when I do a theme box I stick to my normal list of things to include, I try to find versions of those items that fit the theme.  I may add an extra unique item or two, but on the whole it's the same list, just different types.  My basic list for those interested is:
  • Hygiene supplies (soap & casetoothbrush; washcloth; comb)
  • School supplies (lined paper, pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, etc.)  I put these in all ages as preschool classes start early in some countries-and they can be saved for lager or palyed with at any age.
  • Art supplies (crayons, watercolors, and/or colored pencils; plain paper and/or coloring book; stickers, etc.)
  • Ball
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Toy 
  • Something to wear
  • Whistle
  • Some sort of container (maybe a bag or tin)
  • And a family photo (not pictured)

So, could I fit that all in?  And could I do it on theme?  Turned out I could.  I found some great items-a farm coloring book and sticker set, a cow pad of colored papers, a rooster "Beanie Baby" typed stuffed animal that was fun, but didn't take up too much room.  A couple cow keychains.  My mom sewed a tote bag out of some cow/farm fabric we had.  Also, a cow chalk board my late grandmother had only written one thing on-so like new.  It had a painted chalk board so wasn't breakable, and I've read in many countries they like to use chalk boards for school.  I feel I was able to get a nice mix of needed and fun items in the box.  Often people find it helpful to see how the box is packed to fit everything in, so here's some photos of how these items fit in the shoebox-especially the cube puzzle.  I had to take it out of it's tray, but it fit pretty well!

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 2-4 year old boys or our themed boxes!

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.